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News Release

Release No. 0317.09
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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WASHINGTON, July 17, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the names of six additional people who will hold staff positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These people will work in various agencies within the department.

"Today I'm pleased to again announce staff who are dedicated to working with President Obama and me to strengthen communities throughout our country, improve the environment, and ensure our food supply remains safe, sustainable and nutritious," said Vilsack.


Daniel Basila - Confidential Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer. Basila was most recently a member of the Investor Relations team at the D.E. Shaw group in New York City. His previous experience includes investigating the development of pediatric brain and other human tumors at the University of California at San Francisco, and examining the molecular effects of complimentary and alternative cancer therapies at California Pacific Medical Center and the University of Chicago. He earned a Sc.B. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University, and holds a MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Gregory Diephouse - Confidential Assistant. Diephouse most recently directed the Office of Strategic Planning for the State of Illinois Department of Human Services. In this position, he led strategic planning activities and a portfolio of special projects, including his department's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 efforts and Illinois' major e-government initiative for human services. From 2004-2007, he assisted the assistant secretary for Programs, where he worked to create Illinois' cutting-edge initiative to combat human trafficking. Diephouse also served as Nebraska operations director for President Obama's 2008 general election campaign. A Michigan native, Diephouse obtained his Master of Business Administration with honors and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Diephouse received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Roberta "Bobbi" Jeanquart - Confidential Assistant. Jeanquart most recently served as executive director of the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. Jeanquart worked on natural resource conservation and economic development issues; implementation of national board policies; and management of the association's business functions. Previously, she served for 12 years on the staff of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio while she was Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee. As staff director for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and associate staff to the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Jeanquart worked on funding and policy issues in the areas of agriculture, conservation, child nutrition, food safety and rural development issues. Jeanquart, a Wisconsin native, holds a B.A. degree in political science from Marquette University and has completed graduate studies in comparative politics at the University of Toledo.

Stacy Porto - Special Assistant, Civil Rights. After graduating from the University of Denver and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Porto returned to her hometown of Kansas City and continued her commitment to public interest law by advocating for the socially and economically disadvantaged. She joined Legal Aid as a staff attorney, where she helped run a free legal clinic at a low-income hospital and represented clients denied access to healthcare and public benefits. She practiced poverty and civil rights law, volunteered with high-risk urban youth and also served the state of Missouri as a law clerk. Porto joined the Obama for America campaign as part of the National Advance Team Staff, where she assisted with organizing campaign events on a domestic and international scale, including the Democratic National Convention and the Presidential Inauguration.


Charles Lippstreu - Staff Assistant. Lippstreu served as New Media Director with the Obama for America campaign in Nebraska, and was a member of the Nebraska state liaison team for the Presidential Inaugural Committee's National Day of Service. Previously, he worked for the Arbor Day Foundation in Lincoln, Nebraska and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington, D.C. Lippstreu is a native of Lincoln, Neb., and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lona Stoll - Chief of Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service. A native of Michigan, Stoll most recently served as special advisor to the Director of Planning at the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. She was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in spring 2009. In fall 2008, she served as deputy Integration Team Lead of the U.S. Central Command's Assessment Team. Stoll also served as the planning and assistance coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo in 2007. She has previously worked in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Plans, and the State Department's Bureau of Verification and Compliance. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a Certificat d'Etudes Politiques from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France, and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.